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14 candidates: In their own words

Martin van den Hemel   Oct-03-2018


A record 62 candidates are seeking to serve on Richmond City Council or the Richmond Board of Education.

In this edition of The Richmond Sentinel, we are featuring 14 candidates (Jason Zhen Ning Li did not submit his responses) who were not featured in our last edition, which was dedicated entirely to the 2018 Civic Election.

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As a non-profit, The Sentinel is here to serve the community.

Like what you see? Let me know by email: martinv@richmondsentinel.ca

—Martin van den Hemel, Managing Editor

Mayoralty Candidate

Name: Roy Sakata

Party: Independent

High School: Campbell River Secondary

Post-secondary: UBC, SFU

Richmond Resident since: 1970

Occupation: Retired school teacher/principal

Bike/bus/car? Car

Why are you running for office? Running for office to continue being of service to Richmond community.

Role model: My mother, Shigeko Sakata

Political role model: Tommy Douglas

What are the top four issues in this election and explain your position?

Richmond news media and discussions with community members show that Richmond Citizens want a meaningful voice and involvement in important Richmond City Council decisions that have impact on their community and lives. The top four issues appear to be:

• Unaffordable house for the young—Provide incentives to developers who create social housing and explore leasing city land to developers to reduce construction costs, to raise lease revenue to lower taxes and provide lower cost homes for young families and youth.

• Monster homes on ALR ( Agricultural Land Reserve) properties—Change house size bylaw to maximum 5,000 square feet as advised by City Staff. The current 10,000 square feet size is unacceptable on ALR.

• Traffic congestion—I will explore the possibility if a ferry system between Steveston B.C. and Ladner, B.C. with encouragement for entrepreneurial minibus links to Richmond’s industrial and residential areas.

• Mayor/city council that have lost touch with Richmond Citizens—In the first 100 days, with the leadership of Richmond senior management, involvement of city staff and a citizens’ advisory committees, I will conduct comprehensive community center forums to seek maximum citizens input to guide the development of Richmond City’s Vision, Goals, Action Strategies and Implementation plans with timelines and achievement indicators.

Council Candidates

Name: Adil Awan

Party: Independent

High school: Richmond High

Post-secondary: Kwantlen

Richmond resident since: 1974

Occupation: Air transport pilot

Bike/Bus/Car? All

Role models: My parents

Political role model: Barack Obama

Why are you running for office? I want to be the independent voice dedicated to bringing your voice back to city council.

What are the top four issues in this election and explain your position?

• Mega Mansions on Farmland—The Ministry of Agriculture guidelines is a max of 5,382 sq. ft. with an option to build a second home for farm workers or family that work on the farm which can be 3,339 sq. ft. The farmer will require proof that they are in fact farmers and they are entitled to have enough space to house the workers, otherwise the max allowed is 5,382 sq. ft. Do you really need a 10,000 or 20,000 sq. ft. house? I will advocate in limiting house sizes to 5,382 sq. ft. If we allow mega mansions to be built on farmland, we will continue to lose our ALR land to speculators.

• Code of Ethics for Councillors—Responsible conduct is grounded in elected officials conducting themselves with honesty and integrity and in a way that furthers a local government’s ability to provide good governance to their community. Good governance includes:

1) Providing for the stewardship of a community’s public assets,

2) Providing services, laws and other matters for community benefit,

3) Acting in a way that is accountable, transparent, ethical, respectful of the rules of law, collaborative, effective and efficient.

We cannot have city councillors recuse themselves from voting on decisions that affect the residents of Richmond. Either you are working for yourself or you are working for the citizens of Richmond. You can’t have it both ways. We must have open, transparent and accountable government.

• Community safety and security—When we called Richmond home in 1974, we were able to leave the house unlocked. Those days are gone. We must support our first responders in the tools they need to make our neighbourhoods and communities safer. We need to allocate more resources to our police, fire and ambulance services to enable them to do their jobs in a safe and efficient manner. I will advocate in proposing outreach programs in assisting our youth, homeless and the less fortunate to better integrate into our society and in turn make valuable contributions to our city.

• Affordable housing—Affordable is defined as meaning that no more than 30 per cent of the gross income of a household is spent on housing costs (excluding cablevision, telephone, other telecommunications and utility fees).

I will work with all levels of government to explore different options such as a vacancy tax, laneway houses, coach houses, smaller lots for smaller houses. The City of Richmond affordable housing strategy states that 10 per cent of units be allocated to affordable housing. I am proposing that be increased to 20 per cent. We need to be proactive when it comes to housing, and I will negotiate stronger deals with developers to ensure our housing needs are met. I will end the practice of developers offering token amounts to the city for fast tracking development permits. If they want to build in Richmond, they will need to step up to the plate and assist in our housing strategy plans.

Name: Dennis Page

Party: Independent

High School: McNair

Post-secondary: Langara, BCIT

Richmond resident since: 1982

Occupation: Journalist / digital media producer

Bike/bus/car? I used the car to get around Richmond. I use(d) transit to get to BCIT and Langara. As for biking, in the summer I like to ride to Steveston from the Horseshoe Slough Trail.

Why are you running for office? After multiple terms, with essentially the same councillors, Richmond council has produced mainly half measures on hot-button issues.

Role model: Mom

Political role model: Harold Steves

What are the top four issues in this election and explain your position?

I want to start with something positive. This summer, when the monster house issue was voted on in council—all it would have taken to get a different result—is two councillors siding with Mayor Brodie, Harold Steves, and Carol Day.

So the first issue facing Richmond is a need to a shake-up in council. Being that most of our councillors are multiple term ones, and are not likely to change their viewpoints on similar issues—the only way to get any kind of change at city hall, is to vote in a different council.

The next major issue facing Richmond is the realization that all that glitters isn’t gold—and that much of the wealth pouring into the city was tainted.

So, while some would like to turn a blind eye to the obvious, and continue with a “Business as Usual” approach, complete with the same old views and prejudices, I would like to see the city help to weed out corruption and exploitation in our neighbourhoods.

Clamping down on the proceeds of crime, and other practices that work against a healthy community—doesn’t have to mean an economic down turn.

In fact, Richmond is well situated to benefit greatly, from the multi-billion dollar elephant in the room—the legal cannabis industry.

New sources of income and job opportunities are on the horizon, while others that have been strong for years are drying up. From investors, people looking for good, professional careers—1000s of jobs will be created.

Whether you support the cannabis industry or not—fact is, it will be legal in Canada come October, and a modern, sensible approach is what council should take—rather than a “Reefer Madness” attitude, based on outdated prejudices.

Finally, we need to address the housing affordability issue.

Without people being able to put down roots, we run the risk of our neighbourhoods becoming vacation homes for our wealthiest, and dormitories for international students and foreign temporary workers.

I’ve lived in Richmond since the second grade, and I know it has everything it needs to be great.

Common sense and a bit more focus on what’s best for home—and less reliance on international needs and money sources—will be my guiding principles as your councillor.

Name: Jason Tarnow

Party: Independent

High School: Richmond High

Post-secondary: UVic, University of Manchester

Richmond resident since: Birth (1980)

Occupation: Lawyer

Bike/bus/car? Depends on my destination, but I use all those modes of transportation.

Why are you running for office? I am running for council because I have grown tired of watching City Hall cater to those with the most money and dismiss the concerns of the average citizen.

Role model: My beautiful and hard-working wife, Aina.

Political role model: Nelson Mandela

What are the top four issues in this election and explain your position?

• Affordable housing—While housing prices appear to be dropping somewhat, getting into the housing market remains a tremendous obstacle for Richmond’s younger population. Too many homes are left unoccupied and the vacancy rate of rental units is low. Because of this, Richmond is experiencing too many people being forced out of the city which they have always called home.

• Transportation and traffic congestion—We have a fairly good public transportation system in Richmond, but I’d like to see it more accessible to youths and lower-income adults by lowering or scaling fares based on income. The more people who can access public transit, the less cars Richmond will have on its roads. Another way to reduce traffic is to openly lobby the provincial government and to express support for ride-sharing companies like Lyft and Uber to operate. Bicycle-sharing is on its way, which will be great! But I would like to see Richmond to take it a step further and permit one of these new electric scooter-sharing companies like Bird or Lime to operate here. They are innovative, reduce vehicle traffic, and have zero-emissions.

• Protecting farmlands—Anyone who’s driven by 4 Road Steveston Highway or seen the south end of 2 Road knows that preserving Richmond’s farmlands hasn’t been high on Richmond’s list of priorities. It’s troubling to see these massive mansions being constructed over such fertile soil. I also find it shameful that the provincial government is being forced to step in and legislate reasonable limits to housing sizes on ALR lands when our municipal government won’t.

• Cannabis legalization—Canada is on the eve of legalization and the position of the current mayor and council prohibiting retail sales will only translate into millions of lost tax dollars that could be driven back into city programming and build infrastructure that could benefit Richmond for years to come. The rhetoric and misinformation coming from our current municipal government on cannabis legalization has no factual basis to it and is a stark contradiction to city hall’s affinity for alcohol, which is becoming widely available at community functions and is a substance we know to cause far greater societal damage in comparison to cannabis. In my view, Richmond’s economy would only be strengthened by the jobs that could be created by legalization and the taxes gained from it being sold at the retail level.

Name: Patrick S. Saunders

Party: Independent

High School: Steveston

Post-secondary: Kwantlen and VCC

Richmond resident since: 1969

Occupation: Consultant/homemaker

Bike/bus/car? Minivan, bus, SkyTrain

Why are you running for office? A sense of community duty

Role model: My mother

Political role model: Winston Churchill and Tommy Douglas

What are the top four issues in this election and explain your position?

I have lived in Richmond for 49 of my 51 years, I have 3 school age children one with global challenges. I have travelled to 5 of 7 continents giving me a global perspective. I am running council again as I still feel it needs to be a balanced common sense approach.

• Richmondites to RETHINK what it means when the word affordable housing is used to most it means supportive or subsidized housing, why not third more viable option of public or private owned leasehold. The were various levels of government can retain ownership of the land Build 2, 3, 4 bedroom townhomes and mixed condo’s and lease them for 99 years to young families—single parents, first responders, city workers, societies that help the elderly, disabled, mental health and yes the addicted. As this approach is $100,000 to $300,000 it is a lot less than $2 million plus cost of current housing.

• Richmondites to RETHINK permanent taxation and introduce the idea of temporary tax you know like Income tax was suppose to be, called a “Levy,” that citizens put forward for referendum (initiative) we vote and said project is funded with a firm start and stop date. The idea also being this gives council its mandate.

• Richmondites to RETHINK and relocate the vitally needed boxed in Richmond General Hospital to a more organic location and like the Airport and engage our First Nations in this initiative. As well as replace the Gateway Theatre with a BIGGER venue more inline with our cities population.

• Richmondites to RETHINK Elder care and Daycare’s what is community spirit. Why not have daycares and senior centre’s as one. I wish when I was young and my parents worked I had grand parents and I know many elderly that light up when they see youth—both have a story to tell.

Name: Zhang Zhe

Richmond resident since: 2018

Occupation: IT

Why are you running for office? It’s a part of my spiritual journey. Serve all people, not special interest group.

Role model: Vimalakirti

Political role model: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

What are the top four issues in this election and explain your position?

No 1 issue is the housing affordability. My solution is to tax the persons who own more than one home and the new buyers who make third-time purchase, at the same time, use these taxes to subsidize the renters and the homeowners who only have one property.

For second home tax, the method is as follows:

If there is only one home, then it doesn’t matter if the homeowner lives in this home or not, it is always considered a reasonable investment and is not subject to taxation.

If a homeowner has two homes, there are two scenarios:

A, one home is in Richmond, the another one outside Richmond, but still in Metro Vancouver.

B, both are in Richmond.

Depending on whether or not the homeowner actually live in this home,, these two scenarios can continue to be subdivided into five situations:

A1, the homeowner does not live in these two homes;

A2, the homeowner lives in a Richmond home;

A3, the homeowner lives in a home outside of Richmond, but that home is still in metro Vancouver;

B1, the homeowner does not live in these two homes;

B2, the homeowner lives in one of Richmond’s homes;

For A1, it is considered speculative and a tax of 0.45% of assessed value is imposed;

For A2, it is considered a reasonable investment, no tax;

For A3, it is considered a lite version speculation and a 0.2% tax is imposed;

For B1, it is considered speculative and a tax of 0.35% is imposed;

For B2, it is regarded as speculation, the tax is not collected from the home that homeowner lives, and the another home is subject to a tax of 0.1%;

If there are three or more homes, it can be subdivided into two cases:

C1, the homeowner lives in a home outside of Richmond;

C2, the homeowner lives in one of Richmond’s homes;

For C1, it is considered speculative and a tax of 0.55% is imposed;

For C2, it is considered speculative, there is no tax on home that owner lives, and for other homes in Richmond, a tax of 0.3% is imposed.

There are some exemptions for this second home tax, for more details and other measures, including the third-time buyers tax that I didn’t elaborate, please refer to my website: https://zhangzhe.ca/platform

Trustee Candidates

Name: Charvine Adl

Party: Independent

High School: Bedford School, England

Post-secondary: UBC

Richmond resident since: 1990

Occupation: Chartered Accountant (CPA)

Bike/bus/car? Car, sadly

Why are you running for office? To prioritize core academics and oppose SOGI

Role model: Jesus

Political role model: Winston Churchill

What are the top four issues in this election and explain your position?

• Core academics—we need to support teachers to ensure students do not fall behind in core requirements

• Facilities—focus on safety by completing earthquake upgrades, avoiding the use of portables and prioritizing renovations.

• SOGI—Richmond parents have made it clear that they do not want SOGI 123 material taught in schools and that the policy infringes on their parental, religious and cultural rights. We need to repeal and correct this poorly thought out policy.

• Foundation Skills Assessment—We need to increase participation in order to know how our children are doing academically.

Name: Sergio Arrambide

Party: Independent

High School: American Institute of Monterrey

Post-secondary: PrepaTec

Richmond resident since: 2018

Occupation: International public policy

Bike/bus/car? Bus

Why are you running for office? My wife and I have three children and education is very important for all of them.

Role model: Jesus

Political role model: Jack Layton

What are the top four issues in this election and explain your position?

• Student safety—Student safety is important. Some students don´t feel safe at home and the least that we can do is make sure that all students feel safe in school.

• School Development—School development is an issue in our City Centre and other areas. It is important to build alliances with developers and make sure that one of their priorities is to provide space for public schools. Another temporary alternative is to invest in modular schools to provide the services where needed, when needed.

• Parent Involvement in Student Education—Parent involvement in student education is critical. Some parents spend too much time at work and don´t have time to understand everything that is happening in our education system. I would like to build the Richmond Centre for Education Policy Studies. An independent forum for debate of Canada´s education policy with strong internal research capacity. Covering all education policy areas, it will be a place to exchange ideas and produce potential solutions for the formulation of education public policies in Canada through research, events, and publishing. Richmond Parents will play a leadership role in this project.

• Change Policy 801 and Policy 801-R which reduce parent involvement in Student Education—Parents concerns should also be placed on the agenda of board discussion for the appointment of a responsible party to solve the concern. This guarantees that the concern is registered in public records and that the public has full visibility. The objective is to promote the efficiency of all parties involved in matters that have to do with addressing and efficiently resolving parental concerns. Keeping an online score board that shows how many concerns have been reported, how many have been resolved, and which person is delaying the resolution of the concern is recommended. One of my priorities is parental satisfaction and this is why any member of the board of education must have empowerment to place a parental concern on the agenda for consideration. Every parent concern is a priority.

Name: Andrea Gong-Quinn

Party: Independent

High School: Educated in Shanghai

Post-secondary: Shanghai University

Richmond resident since: 2000

Occupation: Mother and wife

Bike/bus/car? Car

Why are you running for office? To participate and contribute to our education system as a parent with a child currently attending public school

Role model: My mother

What are the top four issues in this election and explain your position?

• SOGI policy has divided our diversified multicultural community. This can’t be ignored. I think the constructive way is to engage parents, teachers and community inputs and review it. We shall work on a policy that is inclusive and respectful to all students regardless their family background, religion, culture and sex orientation. Every student deserves to feel comfortable and be protected at school. Let’s bring common sense back and restore the trust and confidence in our education system.

• Advocate school development in city centre and seismic upgrades of schools in need.

• Prohibit any marijuana related product in and nearby school area.

• Work with the city and province to provide sufficient resources for our schools.

Name: James Li

Party: Independent

Post-secondary: Tongji University

Richmond resident since: 2004

Occupation: Child care teacher, travel consultant

Bike/bus/car? I live in city centre, so I walk a lot. I also walk to work. However I have to drive my child to and from school. We need a school in city center!

Why are you running for office? Voice for children and parents in community

Role model: Tony Robbins

Political role model: Mother Teresa

What are the top four issues in this election and explain your position?

• Respect Parental Rights—Improve communication between school district and parents, Enhance family’s involvement and protect all children. It takes a village to raise a child! School district should work closely with parents in education and making any major policy.

• Improve Quality of Education—Compare to other school district and other provinces, Richmond School District has a lot of room for improvement. According to a report in 2016, student funding in BC is the second worst in Canada.

• Promote Chinese Immersion Program—Chinese is the most spoken language in the world and Richmond is the gateway to Asia-Pacific. Learning Chinese in School will benefit our children to find job or do business locally and globally in the future. Chinese immersion program has already been implemented in some schools in Vancouver, Burnaby and Coquitlam.

• Improve Support for Children with Special Needs—I worked with child with special needs as support teacher in preschool in Richmond. I understand that families with special needs children are facing more challenge than other families. They need more support in resources, funding and supporting staff.

Name: Ivan Pak

Party: Independent

High School: Ackworth School (UK)

Post-secondary: University of Warwick (UK)

Richmond resident since: 1996-2001, 2015-Present

Occupation: IT consultant

Bike/bus/car? Car, bike

Why are you running for office? To promote parents engagement in education system.

Role model: Sun Yat-sen

Political role model: Sun Yat-sen

What are the top four issues in this election and explain your position?

• School safety—prohibit all cannabis products in school, establish workshops for students and parents to understand how cannabis will affect health to our young generation

• Student support—Continue in support of special needs students, and their family by allocate more resources to teachers and schools.

• Parental Engagement—Encourage parents to participate in our education system.

• Build new school in city center, and upgrade more school facilities to meet seismic standards.

I want to build an effective communication platform between parents and school officials. Communication keeps us connected, keeps us understand each other, keeps us respect our differences, and most importantly keeps us TOGETHER in the community. If I am elected, I will work with our school officials, students, parents and other school trustees to build a safe, inclusive, professional education system.

Name: Jeffrey Smith

Party: Independent

High School: Okemos High school

Post-secondary: UVic

Richmond resident since: 2008

Occupation: Post secondary teacher/instructor

Bike/bus/car? I use all three forms of transportation but I prefer biking

Why are you running for office? To ensure that our children are provided education that help them become successful and build a strong community

Role model: Father

Political role model: Barack Obama

What are the top four issues in this election and explain your position?

• Funding for Incentive and other accelerated learning programs—I believe we owe it to our children in giving them the continued opportunity of participating in these programs that challenge them academically and provide outdoor activities that allow for personal growth and learning to exceed their expectations and provide them with the tools for success. We should also be staffing to appropriate levels to ensure such programs continue the close parent/teacher communication that are crucial in the success of our children in these programs and elsewhere in our schools.

• Mental health awareness—I believe in supporting and promoting any initiatives that promote mental health awareness for our students and teachers. We need to better recognize these symptoms and provide the understanding and necessary support required in helping deal with the stresses from learning or personal issues.

• Updating technologies in the classroom—I believe that funding for technology should be ongoing in order to improve the learning of all students and also giving teachers a better tool in providing instruction more effectively and efficiently.

• Expansion of elective courses—I believe that we should be providing more electives for students that are aligned with the new curriculum and expectations set by post-secondary institutions. We should also be continuing our focus on allowing input from teachers in developing this student-centred learning for this new curriculum.

Name: Sharon Wang

Party: Independent

Post-secondary: Langara, Trinity Western

Richmond resident since: 2007

Occupation: Registered nurse

Bike/bus/car? Car

Why are you running for office? For kids

Role model: Many people have given me inspirations

Political role model: None

What are the top four issues in this election and explain your position?

• Safe—School infrastructure upgrading. Zero tolerance to bullying and discrimination at school

• Equal—School access and availability according to the population demands and special needs

• Healthy—Programs aiming for promoting students’ well-being and mental health in collaboration with all stakeholders and local health authorities

• Sustainable—Monitoring and evaluation measures to ensure effectiveness, efficiency and transparency

Name: Jeff Danis

Party: Richmond Education Party

High School: Selkirk High School

Post-secondary: Confederation College

Richmond resident since: 2002

Occupation: Senior Consultant and Partner

Bike/bus/car? Car and SkyTrain

Why are you running for office? This is a good time in my life to give back to my community.

Role model: My Father

Political role model: John McCain

What are the top four issues in this election and explain your position?

• Safer Facilities—Infrastructure should be a top priority. Creating a safe environment for teachers, students and administration staff. Schedule timelines and be accountable for keeping on task. Make sure that we are spending your money wisely.

• SOGI—A very controversial subject since passed earlier this year. My first goal would be to educate people on the subject so that everyone understands why this is an important policy.

• Programs—Children with learning challenges. I will work hard to increase awareness that supports programs for student who face these issues at both the Elementary and Secondary level.

• School funding—This applies to children and teachers. Work with decision makers to provide the best work environment for the students and teachers. Work hard to find solutions on student to teacher ratio’s, special needs education and assistance, pre and post school programs, sports and activities.


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